A Quick and Helpful Tenant Screening Checklist

tenant screening

Have you ever had nightmare tenants? This can not only cause tremendous stress but also impact your rental property income and interfere with your life. This is why having a robust tenant screening process is vital and will help you to secure the best tenants for peace of mind and a steady income.

Keep reading for a tenant screening checklist that every property manager should use.

ID Verification & Criminal Background Check

First, you need to make sure that tenants have a valid form of ID to prove that they are who they say they are.

A criminal background check is a vital step in the tenant screening process, which should include checking both national and state records. Many landlords have no issue with renting to someone with a criminal history, but it is important to be aware of their history beforehand.

Credit Check & Bank Statements

A credit check is another important step when it comes to property management. You need to use a credit check to see if they are responsible with their finances, if they have any outstanding debt and whether they are in a financial position to comfortably afford rent and other financial obligations.

You should also ask for 3 months worth of financial records to check that they will be able to afford rent and to gauge their financial responsibility. Money is not everything, but it will play a major role and you need to find tenants that you can rely on to pay rent each month.

Employment Check

It is also a good idea to contact employers when screening a tenant. They will be able to verify their position and you could cross-check financial records with paystubs to confirm income. If the individual is self-employed, you will want to check their tax return and bank statements to get an idea of their financial situation.

Prior Landlords

One of the best ways to determine whether or not the tenant will be reliable is to contact prior landlords. In addition to being able to confirm whether or not there were any issues relating to rent, they will also be able to tell you if they caused any issues during the tenancy agreement. There are questions that you could ask, such as:

  • Did they pay rent on time?
  • What condition did they leave the property in?
  • Were there complaints from neighbors?
  • Did they contact you when there was a problem?
  • Would you recommend them?

Phone Call/Meeting

Picking tenants is an important decision that will impact both your life and finances. It is a good idea to schedule a phone call or meeting so that you can get any questions answered and so that you can get a feel for them – it is important to go with your gut in this situation. A few questions that you could ask include:

  • Why are you moving?
  • How long do you plan on staying?
  • Do you have pets?
  • Do you smoke?
  • What do you do in your spare time?

You may have your own criteria for the rental property and this stage will help you to find the right tenants. Crucially, keep fair housing laws in mind during this stage and avoid any kind of discrimination.

Use Tenant Screening to Secure the Best Tenants

This tenant screening checklist will help you to filter your applicants and find the best tenants for your rental property.

Contact us today to learn more about property management and maximizing your investment.